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November 24 Post

24Nov

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows…” Psalm 23

Every Thanksgiving Dinner worth remembering sits squarely on the brink of disaster. There was a certain suffering involved. The only two I can recall from childhood had nothing to do with Norman Rockwell and everything to do with God. The year I turned seven my Father and I sat alone at our kitchen table, heads bowed over some paltry offering from the local deli. We prayed earnestly, that my brother would survive the high fever that racked his young body in the hospital, and that my mother would come home with him.

And still we gave thanks.

The year I turned nine, we traveled far to partake at one of those big noisy family dinners that included great-aunts and cousins you only saw once a year. Some of the nephews weren’t speaking to one another as I recall, another an outcast over some unspoken grievance considered too mature for children to hear. We knew.

And still we gave thanks.

The Pilgrims didn’t all survive the winter prior to that first Thanksgiving. If the weather then was anything like the weather now, they were cold and damp. They did not have the consolation of cold remedies from the pharmacy nor down jackets from any local T.J. Max. The women were no doubt sullen at what turned out to be a life sentence a zillion miles from the home fires of England. They could not have known that their relationship with the local native population would grow into a certain animosity and one day, war.

And still they gave thanks.

We thank God not only for what we have but for what we cannot always see: That the lawn is covered with manna in our every wilderness to feed our deepest hungers each new day; That the life of Christ was broken that we might eat the bread of suffering and live; That the disciples gathered on the beach and ate fish after the funeral and their eyes were opened and they recognized the new life that Christ brings. Come to worship and feast at the table set for you and me and all God’s people in the midst of whatever enemy threatens your peace. For God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies, God anoints our head with the oil of mercy that all might be made well, and our cup of provision overflows. Always. Give thanks.

Prayer: We gather to together to ask your blessing, that our lives might be useful to your service, that our hearts might be thankful for your gifts, and that our gratitude might transform to generosity for all people. We pray and labor for that day when abundance for all will mean scarcity for none. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Senior Minister Elect
Community Church of Vero Beach

Posted by Rev. Dr. Anna. V. Copeland

The Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland comes to us from three large churches where she served as Senior Minister for nearly three decades: in Colorado, the Chicago area, just north of Boston in York, Maine, and most recently as Pastor in Residence in San Miguel, Mexico. Dr. Copeland graduated with a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska, a Master of Divinity from Yale University Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. Through worship, teaching and writing, she seeks to equip people of faith to think theologically about the world in which we live, to follow the Way of Jesus, and to share God's grace, mercy and peace with all God's people.

Together with her husband Dr. Ellis Copeland, Anna Copeland founded The Copeland Institute of northwest Boulder County in Colorado, a retreat center for deep faith work. She also has served as Trustee for The Chicago Theological Seminary, adjunct faculty for the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and as a Trustee for The Fund for Theological Education out of Atlanta.

Dr. Copeland has led international mission trips to Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Cuba, and faith journeys to Israel, Turkey and Greece. Avocations for Anna Copeland include wilderness adventures such as a women's' trek in the Arctic Circle, mountain climbing, skiing and kayaking. And she enjoys experiencing exceptional food and conversation that celebrate the feast of friendship and the feast of life.

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